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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Diesel
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Diesel This is a forum dedicated to diesel engines and their applicable accessories.


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Old 02-13-2012
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Dual fuel filters

One recommendation that I've had is to add a second fuel filter in parallel with the first (I currently have a single Racor). Then if one plugs up you can switch to the backup by turning a valve. A second idea was to have two valves: one upstream and one below the two filters. This I think would allow you to isolate the unused filter so you could change the filter medium.

Has anyone done this modification?
Comments? Tips? Thanks.
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Old 02-13-2012
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I wish I had room to do this mod with some Racor 500's....but I've seen this done and if you're an ocean cruiser or live in an area that has questionable fuel sources, its a great idea. Some have even dedicated fuel pumps that can turn the rig into a fuel polishing system that runs when the boat is under wind power during lumpy seas (otherwise you dont get the gunk to filter).

Personally, for the kind of sailing I do, its a bit overkill as I filter my diesel before putting it in the tank and I'm vigilant about treating the tank with biocide. Although, I imagine in a few years as my tank grows more stuff, I'll invest in this mod.
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Old 02-13-2012
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I've got the dual racor setup aboard (I haven't updated the boat modification page for this yet, but will soon) and hope never to have to use it to change filters on the fly with a bad load but at least I'm prepared now. It is good to be able to shut off one filter and activate the other without having to turn off the engine and bleed the air out of the system.
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Old 02-13-2012
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So Zanshin, did you do the work yourself? Except for the diesel fuel line I've heard that home depot or similar can supply the brass T's valves etc.

Can you supply a bit more detail on your setup like where the valves are? Thanks.
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Old 02-13-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
I wish I had room to do this mod with some Racor 500's....but I've seen this done and if you're an ocean cruiser or live in an area that has questionable fuel sources, its a great idea. Some have even dedicated fuel pumps that can turn the rig into a fuel polishing system that runs when the boat is under wind power during lumpy seas (otherwise you dont get the gunk to filter).
..... or if you buy a boat in Annapolis that had been baking it's 2 - 75 gallon tanks in the sun more than being used in the previous 2 years and the engine dies daily because of a clogged filter from day 2 through 8 of your self-delivery to Rhode Island
So I went all out and installed a Filter-Boss system that does all of the above -



Andy Keenan, the owner of Filter-Boss is a great guy to work with and even made a house-call on my boat when I thought I had a problem with my install (his schematic). Of course the fact that he lives closer to my boat than I do helped a bit I have 2 lines out of each tank so with a few valves I'm able to run or polish in every imaginable way from/to either tank.
Many people have made their own setups for less money but it was 'Boat Show Discount' time when I was ready so I went for it. There is a home made setup out on the NauticatUSA site.
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Old 02-13-2012
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I also have dual Racor filters. You can buy them factory made complete with the valve and a vacuum guage or you could make your own with ball valves and fittings. I have two supply lines and two returns so with the use of a couple of valves I can direct the return from one tank to the other while running which sort of polishes it I guess, although I rarely do this unless I'm trying to shift weight (I generally go through fuel fast enough so I don't have to worry about stuff growing. I know it's a sailboat but we end up doing quite a bit of motoring around here). I had a filter plug up once when I stupidly started the engine while sailing heeled over in rough conditions and it turned into a major PITA.

Here's a (really bad) pic of our setup


Here's a link to the Racor setup:

MARINE TURBINE SERIES (2008) - Parker
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Last edited by jrd22; 02-13-2012 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 02-14-2012
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I placed a wee thin mirror, shiny side up at the bottom of the fuel tank.
The main inspection hatch for the tank is immediately above the mirror.
The hatch is of the lever type, and can be opened in seconds.
I shine a flashlight in there, then watch for the dulling of the reflection when I stir up the bottom of the tank with a wee wooden paddle I have.
So far, it has stayed clear, or very nearly so, and that is 12 years on.
If it ever shows too much sign of clouding, I will pump out the floor of the tank through a wee filter or something to collect the crud.
You are warned though, before the fuel tank re-fit in 1998 there was a great big puddle of goo and much in there.... just awful. Like half a bucket ful of puke, really.

Today, I use a pressurised fuel system, pressurised to 5 psi, so fuel leaks out rather than air in.
I have a single Racor filter, a long-serving unit. It has always leaked a tiny wee bit, but I have learned to live with it. It is an engine room, after all, and although it is pretty clean in there I have never tried to make it look like a hospital ward.
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Last edited by Rockter; 02-15-2012 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 02-14-2012
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Rock,, glad you aren't doing this in the "wee" tank!
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Old 02-14-2012
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I decided to go with the opposite approach.

Rather than assume my primary filter would plug, then install a "back up", that sits there doing nothing 99% of the time, I chose to take that second filter and put it to good use. I installed a Racor 900, and a Carter rotary vane fuel pump as a high turnover, 2X per hour, dedicated fuel polishing system that runs when ever the engine is on. It can also run with the engine off as it has done multiple times over the winter. It has kept our engine filters spotless even at 3 years and 360 engine hours..

This is what our polishing filter and secondary engine filter looked like after three years.

Polishing filter at 767 Hours & Secondary Engine Filter @ 360 Hours.


The engine primary filter, a 10 micron Racor 500 element is not really discernible from new even at 360 hours..

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Last edited by Maine Sail; 02-14-2012 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 02-15-2012
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denise :

Rock,, glad you aren't doing this in the "wee" tank!

Well I do live in Scotland, and, though not a Scotlander, they do use that word "wee" quite a lot.

Apologies.
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